Coalville Town 2 Hitchin Town 1


Southern League 2021-22

Owen Street Sports Ground107 Owen St, Coalville LE67 3DA, UK

Coalville Town
Hitchin Town
2 - 1
Final Score


There is a proverb that begins ‘ to travel hopefully……” which is what we did and to a team that is second in the table. The Ravens had already won comfortably in the corresponding fixture at Top Field and were obvious favourites to win today against a team second from bottom.

It is curious but for a long time in this match it would have been difficult to have selected which team was the poorer placed and the hosts, who had not played for a fortnight looked decidedly ordinary. There is a good case for claiming that Hitchin were the better side in the first half. There is also a case for claiming that this was yet another game that Hitchin should have at least avoided defeat. It was yet another game where the Canaries took the lead and then relinquished it within a minute.

And it was another day where results elsewhere did us no favours whatsoever and the stark truth is that Hitchin town are once again bottom of the division. We had accepted that Callum Stead had agreed terms with Kettering Town and since it is an upward move we wish him well at a more senior club. His departure meant that Rio Dasilva made a start, with Jake Hutchinson the target man.

The hosts had made today’s game a fiver for entry as a thank you to loyal supporters who have shown consistent support and the attendance today was 849, with the terraces packed behind Charlie Horlock who barracked him unmercifully, cheering every error, however slight. It was all good fun.

But it took a while for the ‘twelfth man’ to get going as the hosts were decidedly off-colour. Indeed there was an immediate chance for Hitchin , following a slick passing move that needed a quicker reaction from Steve Cawley. I reiterated my theory that the team raises its game against the top teams seemed to be vindicated as Hitchin were playing with confidence.

Early forays from Coalville were contained, but outstanding in these early minutes was wing back Alex Dean who saw a lot of the ball and seemed involved in every move. But in ten minutes we had yet to see a goal attempt from either side. Dasilva and Cawley played in a combative manner, and Hutchinson awaited a chance – and they did come, eventually.

In the thirteenth minute there was a shot – from the hosts and for Eliot Putman whose effort was way too high. Luke shaw was doing his best to encroach into the area in possession, but each time he was thwarted, and then Hitchin conceded a free-kick, with Dasilva’s reprimanded. McGlinchy won a corner, taken by Taylor which landed harmlessly on the roof of the net.

There had been some top notch defending from Alex Brown, Josh Coldicott-Stevens and the very precise Ciaren Jones and there was no doubt that Hitchin were holding their own and waiting to counter. We had reached twenty minutes when Hutchinson and Dasilva combined with the latter’s cross to Cawley just short of success.

Home supporters became more vocal, exhibiting a bit of frustration as a hatful of goals had been clearly expected, and he was their team being kept in a subdued mode. Hitchin then won their first corner from a thoughtful move. JCS sent it across and Malaki Black sent it back from a defensive lunge, but Coalville cleared their lines. But a second and a third corner came with Tiernan Brooks needing to tip a goal bound header just over the bar. The rude populace behind the goal deflected the fact that their team was under pressure with rude observations about Steve Cawley being allegedly overweight. The third corner culminated with skipper Dan Webb attempting an overhead kick that was no threat to Brooks but it was nice to see.

Perhaps surprisingly, the best opportunity for a goal fell to Jake Hutchinson, who had a similar chance in the second. He was the scorer of the opening goal and may be wondering why he did not achieve a hat-trick given the clear opportunities offered. The ones he missed proved to be vital. A Hitchin free- kick from JCS was straight at the keeper and there were few others in such a good position. There was a shot on target from The Ravens after thirty-five minutes that was routine for Horlock. Stan Georgiou was again giving a competent performance and Jack Green, if not at his very best was effective.

Hitchin were contesting every ball, and there was a good move from Hutchinson and Cawley – needing Hutchinson to get more purchase on the crossed ball. We were not too far from half-time when Hutchinson was granted the best chance of this period. Isolated up front he received a long ball and had a clear chance but was intercepted. A late corner for Coalville brought routine appeals for a penalty by home supporters, which seemed to me to be more a voicing of the frustration they had felt at not being able to break Hitchin down. But we finished on the breakaway chance for Hutchinson who needed just to place the ball accurately but he fired straight at the keeper. That would have been both welcome and not undeserved. Hitchin had played well and it was imperative that they kept their shape, discipline and fitness in a second half where it was expected that the hosts would exert as much pressure as they could.

This they did, and were eventually rewarded, but they could have called prey to Hitchin breakaways, where once again, Hutchinson had a one pin one that he fired wide of the far post and really ought to have done better. They began with a deflected shot from Berridge and then Horlock had to tip one over the bar from Putman. JCS headed away the corner but only to Luke Shaw whose admirable strike brought an equally admirable save from Horlock. There was a familiar tone about this game- with the hosts deciding that all out attack was the way to wear down your opponents.

But once again Hutchinson had a chance from a long clearance, and he strode towards goal and to our great disappointment sent the ball wide at the far post. It was a wonderful opportunity. It also served as a warning to the hosts, and one they heeded – eventually. Coalville had exerted pressure from the start but needed to convert this to a goal or two. Horlock was badgered by those behind his goal but he is used to that scenario – and I know that some keepers thrive on it.

Dasilva and Cawley combined, but the move ceased with a rushed pass from Black, and once again Hitchin needed to defend and chase for possession. There was a neat bit of defensive play from Georgiou, and a blooper or two from Horlock, much to the glee of his tormentors who clattered the advertising boards with menace aforethought. But we we were still without a goal. Hitchin won a corner, and would it be one of those, you know, the short diagonal and Cawley looping it in. No, it wasn’t. Next one maybe?

A Berridge cross was deflected for a Taylor corner, nervously defended for another corner. This was defended but Hitchin needed to wrest possession and pass it around a little just for a bit of respite. Horlock prevented another corner. I wondered if they could hang onto this or even sneak a goal, and that be a winning goal. Not quite. Coalville plugged away, Hitchin defended, with little respite and Horlock’s wayward kicking was causing amusement to the home faithful. But Hitchin were biting at every ball. Doyle-Charles tried a lob, just for something different, and then, Jones sent a forward ball to JCS who was intercepted and back we were again, defending grimly. Hutchinson played the ball to Cawley who had a crack but the follow up from Hutchinson found the net and, unpredictably Hitchin were ahead, celebrated by the knot of travelling supporters behind the goal.

Then the Achilles heel. Taking the lead, often under pressure and then not being able to hold on to it. Last week there was an aberration of two minutes that cost the points and so it was today. Coalville won a corner and from this they equalised – the ball being stabbed in at close range by Putman. The goals I timed at 61 and 62 minutes. It is so frustrating for us and the team that after getting their noses in front they get a thick rear, so to speak. But worse was to come, and it was then result of sustained pressure, and the winning goal was a sweeping beauty of a goal, a side-footed splendour from Berridge after 71 minutes.

Credit must be given to Hitchin for the way they battled but had Berridge connected with his next chance it might have been all over a lot earlier. As it was there was still a chance. The hosts would go all out and Hitchin would await the chance of a counter. Dasilva was held back when scampering forward and Dean was cautioned, and his booking was along with JCS the only ones in this game that was played in a good spirit.

The winning goal came again from a corner and again I remark on the splendid way it was swept into the net and thus Berridge atoned for his glaring miss a little earlier. Once again Hitchin take the lead, lose the lead and then concede again, waving farewell to the point they hands deserved and the three they might have sneaked in a smash and grab. It does so happen and I could listen to calls about injustice all night. In fact if Hitchin had won by an own goal, or won ugly, I would take all that since it is not at all pleasant to be rock bottom with the haunting spectre of relegation hovering in the air.

I made the point that Hitchin had played very well and this met with agreement from compatriots but the icy fact was pointed out that it has not been converted to wins. Wins mean points and points mean survival There is a lot work to do and with no game this coming Saturday we must wait until the Monday to take on a much improved Redditch United, where in the corresponding fixture, you guessed it we took the lead only to go down by the same a score of today’s match.

Coalville are likely to be in the play-offs, since Banbury look unassailable and they will be relatively confident of promotion. They edged past a gallant Hitchin today, but they were, in a sense, a bit late into the fray, but pressure told in the end. I am wondering what might have happened had Hutchinson put away those one on ones. It will come. The full-figured mature lady has not completed her songs yet.


Tiernan Brooks, Alexander Dean, cautioned – this reporter’s man of the match, Eliot Putman, GOAL, 62 MINUTES, Jake Eggleton, Stephen Towers, captain, Kian Taylor, Luke Shaw, (Tyrell Waite), Joe Doyle -Charles, Timothy Berridge, GOAL, 71 MINUTES, (Jacob Carter) Billy Key, Thomas McGlinchey.

Substitutes not used- Tomasz Bukowski, GK, Christopher Robertson, Kyle Tomlin.


Charlie Horlock, Jack Green, Alex Brown, Josh Coldicott-Stevens, cautioned, Dan Webb, captain, Ciaren Jones, mentioned in despatches,

Rio Dasilva, (Kye Tearle), Stanley Georgiou, Jacob Hutchinson, GOAL, 61 MINUTES, Stephen Cawley, Malaki Black, (Lewis Barker).

Substitutes not used- Jordan Kinoshi, Ben Stevens, Josh Poipoola.

Referee- Mr Andrew Ellis, assisted by Mr Thomas Durno, and Mr Luke Bowles.

Attendance – 849



Competition Season
Southern League 2021-22